Independent Investigation Finds NFL Did Not See Complete Ray Rice Video

Ray Rice
Baltimore Ravens fans wait in line over an hour to exchange their Ray Rice jerseys for new NFL jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium. Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

An independent investigation of the National Football League determined that no one at the NFL saw the complete video of the Ray Rice elevator incident before TMZ made it public in September. The investigation, led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, began after Rice was indefinitely suspended from the NFL.

There was a fair amount of debate as to whether the NFL had seen the complete tape, which shows Rice knocking out fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer and her head hitting a metal railing. The first half of the tape, which reveals a passed out Palmer being dragged out of the elevator by Rice, was made public by TMZ last February. When the first tape was made public, Rice was suspended from the Baltimore Ravens for two games. The Ravens went on to cut him from the team after the full tape emerged.

Rice's lawyer claimed he offered to make the tape available to the NFL before the initial two-game suspension was handed down. NFL officials claimed they had contacted police officials to find the tape but were not given access to it (several police departments noted they did not receive formal requests from the NFL for the tape).

Rice's suspension was later overturned after it was determined Rice had told the full truth of what happened inside the elevator to NFL officials before the complete tape was ever made public. During the appeal hearing, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continued to claim Rice never fully explained what happened inside the elevator and avoided questions as to how exactly the NFL requested the full tape from authorities, though other NFL officials stood by Rice's account. As the appeal was granted, Rice is a free agent and remains unsigned to any NFL team.

"We concluded there was substantial information about the incident—even without the in-elevator video—indicating the need for a more thorough investigation. The NFL should have done more with the information it had, and should have taken additional steps to obtain all available information about the February 15 incident," Mueller said in a statement.